Each peer at Perry Wellness Center has his or her own story to tell. Most have many years of struggle behind them because of mental illness or substance abuse problems. Their resilience and bravery is apparent in their commitment to their ongoing recovery.
One peer with an inspirational story to share is Ronald Boykin. Boykin was born 38 years ago in Coalesville, Pennsylvania, along with his twin brother. Since then, his life has been filled with both triumphs and tragedies.
“My background is unique,” Ronald acknowledges. “It began in my church relations and with my God. At 12, both of my lungs collapsed. My mother stood by my side and prayed, ‘God, if you must take him, please take him away from future suffering. If you spare Ronald, please lead him in his life.’”
Ronald’s educational background reflects his journey to meet his potential. A graduate of Princeton University Theological Seminary, he was also offered scholarships to Atlanta’s Emory University, Vanderbilt, the International Theological Center of Atlanta, and Harvard. He accepted a full scholarship for three years of study at Princeton, from 2000-2003.
Even with such promising beginnings, success often seemed out of reach. Ronald notes, “All my life has not been great.” But he learned to turn misfortune into hope. Now he shares this history, from marital conflicts to wrongful imprisonment, as part of his goal of leading others to a better life. Today he is an ordained minister. His easy presence breaks through potential barriers, and others are drawn to his story of hope and redemption.
“God gives us a ‘present’ each day,” he explains. “We must look for a reason to improve our station in life and move forward to help others. I think God, through planned contacts, led me to Perry Wellness Center.”
“With my jail and prison time, I turned these experiences into trying to hear and help others who sought understanding,” Ronald says. “From those experiences, I have built a nucleus of friendships. I have become deeply involved in the Kairos Prison Ministry and had a leadership position when incarcerated at Lee State Prison.
“I believe that God has more work for me to do,” he continues. “Perry Wellness Center is another opportunity to help friends. I have learned that many people with needs are not church-goers. I try to take God’s word to them. It has been rewarding to discover many souls who are eager to hear about God and his salvation.”
Other plans and accomplishments are on the horizon. He plans to begin a CAYA – Come As You Are – program and currently leads a Bible Studies class. In addition, his first book has been accepted on the Amazon.com network. “Inspire to Give Life Another Chance” is one more way in which to communicate his beliefs to others.
He looks forward to sharing his story and religious message in area churches and gathering places. One major source of inspiration is the founder of the recovery center in which he has found fellowship.
“I am eager to share the goodness that God has put before me,” Ronald concludes. “I am happy to be at Perry Wellness Center, and I have enjoyed the gracious reception of Mr. Stuart Perry. Stuart has a powerful story. Together, we can share a mission of helping others with their recovery.”
In the photo above, Stuart Perry and Ronald Boykin share thoughts and plans in Perry Wellness Center’s Hope Park.